Bridging the enthusiasm gap

Boris Johnson, David Cameron, George Osborne Image copyright AP/Getty Images

Treasury tome versus Boris Johnson in a racing car. Corporate event and invited audience versus the High Street soap box. What you're seeing day after day is deliberate - and both sides of the EU campaign think they are playing to their strengths.

So today, as on so many other days, you've seen the prime minister and the chancellor at shiny podiums, producing official government analysis full of equations and graphs - often sounding rather doom-laden - to make their arguments, trying to demonstrate authority.

And then you see Boris Johnson leaping off the battle bus, rough and ready in comparison. Climbing in and out of racing cars, jumping onto any old platform, clutching the microphone among the crowds - trying to convey excitement.

None of this is happening by accident.

Remainers, led by David Cameron, want to plant the seed of doubt about the idea of leaving in the undecided voter's mind with these endless warnings. That could, they believe, propel millions of voters to the polls even if the EU is far from top of their list of concerns.

The other side want their supporters fizzing and frothing and rushing to the polls and taking all their friends along too. They know that they can't and won't get the backing of officialdom, and can't compete with the government machine, so why try? Instead, with broad brush messages, they're trying to show you they are having more fun.

It's how both sides are trying to manage the enthusiasm gap in this campaign. And what a gap that might be.

Private research I've seen suggests more than 10 million people are gung-ho about leaving.

On the other side, only about five million are passionate about staying in.

You can see why every day, David Cameron and George Osborne are trying to even up that advantage by making it seem like it really, really matters.

In politics you can win all the arguments you like, but if you can't get your backers to go to the polling station then you're sunk.

In a month's time the polls will just have closed, and it might be turnout that makes all the difference.

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